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Report Card: Grizzlies blast Indiana 135-102

Desmond Bane shined in his return to his home state of Indiana.

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NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

A Morant-less Memphis Grizzlies team rolled into Indiana and ran the Pacers out of Gainbridge Fieldhouse 135-102 on Tuesday night.

The Grizzlies dominated almost every statistical category scoring their third-most points in a game this season while notching 50 rebounds, 38 assists, 10 blocks and 12 steals as a team.

The team’s total performance was one of their best on the season, but let’s take a look at some individual performances that stood out.

Memphis Grizzlies v Indiana Pacers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Desmond Bane - 21 points (7-12 FG, 4-7 3PT), 4 Rebounds, 6 Assists

Grade: A-

Bane, a Richmond, Indiana native, had around 200 friends and family members in attendance for his return to his home state. His contingency was treated to a game high 21-point performance, his 29th game of 20+ this season.

Bane had it going early scoring 9 in the first quarter despite not hitting a three. Instead, Bane got himself started by getting to the basket in transition and drawing fouls going 3-4 from the free throw line in the opening quarter.

After seeing a few go in at the line, Bane started to see his three point tries fall, hitting both of his attempts in the second quarter to end the first half with 15.

Without Ja Morant, Bane was also able to show his play making ability finishing with 6 of the Grizzlies 38 assists. Bane has plenty of on-ball experience in college, summer league and in the absence of Ja, and he flashed those abilities against Indiana. Looking toward the postseason, Bane’s halfcourt playmaking could be utilized by Memphis as opposing teams key on Ja Morant in the playoffs.

De’Anthony Melton - 18 Points (7-14 FG, 4-8 3PT), 3 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 3 Steals

Grade: B+

Melton shot well tonight going 4-8 from three with a few easy buckets out of transitions and one monster dunk on his way to 18 points.

The offensive burst from Ant was a welcomed site as Melton had only hit 4-19 threes in his last four games entering Tuesday.

However, Melton’s real value to this Memphis team comes on the defensive end. Coach Taylor Jenkins has been platooning Melton and Kyle Anderson together as two of the first substitutions for several games now.

The duo gives the Grizzlies length and activity on the perimeter and the freedom to play aggressively without worrying about foul trouble due to naturally lower minutes. Melton, along with Anderson, has been a catalyst to Memphis’s transition offense especially when the half court offense has struggled.

Melton’s defensive value has been proven this season, but hopefully this game can help him turn the corner on a shooting slump to help the Grizzlies bench scoring during the stretch run and into the playoffs.

Memphis Grizzlies v Indiana Pacers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Jaren Jackson Jr. - 19 Points (8-16 FG), 8 Rebounds, 3 Blocks, 2 Steals

Grade: B-

JJJ had an excellent defensive game, perhaps motivated by recent chatter about the DPOY race in which he has not been fairly considered. Jackson added to his league leading block total with 3 rejections on Tuesday and added 2 steals as he anchored the Grizzlies defense.

Jaren was too passive offensively in this game though. In a game without, Ja you would expect Jackson to step up to fill that scoring void. Jackson has averaged 22.2 points per game against the Pacers for his career, and while he did finish with 19 on Tuesday, 12 of those came in the second half with the game firmly out of reach for Indiana.

There are too many times when you forget Jackson is on the court offensively, and with his recent shooting slump — just 26.7% from three since the All Star break — I would like to see him make a more concerted effort to get to the block especially in matchups where he has a clear advantage inside.

Team Grade: A

In the same way Indiana won’t take much away from this game, I’m not sure there is much to take away for Memphis either. Yes, they played an almost perfect game without their best player and an MVP candidate in Ja Morant, but Indiana did not come to play tonight, and the Grizzlies success is more of an indicator that the Pacers are firmly in their rebuild and didn’t have the talent or effort to stack up against the Grizzlies.

That being said, this was a nice “take care of business” win for the Memphis Grizzlies that allowed them to get their superstar some much-needed rest before another nationally-televised game against Atlanta on Friday. Hopefully, the main takeaway for Coach Jenkins and the Grizzlies is that this type of game is their ceiling and this level of success is predicated on being locked in on the defensive end as they were Tuesday.

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